President Barack Obama said wait until Trump actually wins the presidency before you blame him for creating the climate for the billionaire businessman’s political rise.
“Talk to me if he wins, then we’ll have a conversation about how responsible I feel about it,” Obama said in an interview for the “Today” show on NBC the morning of his final State of the Union address.
Obama downplayed Trump’s success in the Republican primary, saying, “the message that Donald Trump is putting out has had adherence a lot of times during the course of our history.”
“I’m pretty confident that the overwhelming majority of Americans are looking for the kind of politics that does feed our hopes and not our fears, that does work together and doesn’t try to divide us,” Obama said. “That isn’t looking for simplistic solutions and scapegoating, but looks for us, you know, buckling down and figuring out how do we make things work for the next generation?”
Pressed by host Matt Lauer whether he could ever imagine a President Trump delivering a State of the Union address, Obama shot back, “Well, I can imagine it in a Saturday night skit.”
Obama, who famously declared in 2004 that “there is not a liberal American, there is not a conservative America, there is only the United States of America,” said Tuesday that the current political polarization in Washington is a “regret.”
Lauer also questioned Obama about his inability to “change the tone in Washington” and “unite people,” asking, “Is it a failure?”
“It’s a regret,” Obama replied. “I could not be prouder of what we’ve accomplished, and sometimes we look at the past through rose-colored glasses. It’s been pretty divided in the past.”
“But there’s no doubt that politics in Washington are so much more divided than the American people are,” he acknowledged.
Obama then previewed the tone of his final State of the Union speech, saying he wants to talk about the political climate and stress unity.
“Part of what I want to do in this last address is to remind people, you know what, we’ve got a lot of good things going for us,” he explained, “and if we can get our politics right, it turns out that we’re not as divided on the ideological spectrum as people make us out to be.”